Original Name: Golden Poppy Official Number: 226687 Radio Call Letters: WH7379 Built: Alameda, CA 1927. Length: 239' 11" Beam:60' 3" Draft: 11'
Auto Deck Clearance: 12' 6" Speed:10 knots Horsepower:1,200 Propulsion: Diesel Electric (DC) Autos: 50 Passengers:400 Gross Tonnage: 779
Name Translation: Named for a friendly Native American cheif in what is now Port Townsend
FINAL DISPOSITION: Sank under tow to California off the Washington Coast, 31 May 1977 Photo courtesy of MOHAI. Color by Nevermore Images.
Arriving on Puget Sound on 26 May, 1938 was the Golden
Poppy. One of four near sister ferries recently put out of work on
San Francisco Bay, Black Ball sent the all-wood ferry into the yard
at Eagle Harbor.
Reconditioned, repainted and renamed, the ferry emerged
with the name Chetzemoka. As the name was honoring a friendly
Native American chief in the Port Townsend area, it was only fitting
that Black Ball sent her to work on the Port Townsend-Edmonds
From 1938 until 1947 the Chetzy as her name was often
shortened to, worked the Port Townsend route until she was
moved over the Columbia Beach-Mukilteo run. She stayed on the
route as the main ferry until WSF took over ferry operations.
In 1954, the Chetzemoka lost her status as the number one
vessel on the Mkilteo route when the recently acquired Olympic
was moved to the route. The paring of the two vessels lasted
seven years until the Rhododendron was added to the route,
sending the Chetzemoka to reserve status. She then only worked
on weekends and as supplemental service during the summers.
In 1962 the Chetzemoka became the only "Wood Electric
Class" to work in the San Juan Islands. For the summers of
1962-64 , the vessel sailed the Anacortes-San Juan Islands
In the fall of 1965 she was moved back to the Mukilteo run for
extra service. From then on out she divided her time between the
Mukilteo-Clinton route and the Kingston-Edmonds route, helping
out on weekends with the traffic overflow.
Her last season came in 1973, when she worked as the
"Sunday Only" ferry on the Vashon route. On Labor Day of 1973,
she made her last run. The cost of hull caulking, keeping the
dryrot at bay and her minimal car capacity spelled her end. She
was sold in 1975 for $16,000.00 to a California investor who
planned to give the Chetzemoka her old name and turn her into a
shopping center moored along the San Francisco waterfront.
Under tow to California in heavy seas in the spring of 1977,
the Chetzemoka's hull sprung a leak. The pumps were unable to
keep up, and after several hours the ferry slipped beneath the
waves. She lies there still, 9 miles off the coast near La Push, in
235 feet of water.
At work for the Southern Pacific-Golden Gate Ferry company, the Golden Poppy would work much longer
on Puget Sound. Author's collection.
| Sunset Magazine misidentifies two ferries in this caption. While it is the Chetzemoka
leaving Orcas, it appears the deck the photographer is standing on is wooden, making it
the Vashon, while the vessel approaching at left is most assuredly a Steel Electric--likely
the Klickitat. Author's collection.
Something is not quite right with the Chetzemoka's livery in this photo. It more resembles KCTC colors
than Black Ball's. When the Wood Electrics were sold, two were supposed to go to the Kitsap Country
Transportation Company. Author Harre Demorro in The Evergreen Fleet recorded it as the Klahanie and
Kehloken that were meant to go to KCTC, however postcards and photos show that they were in proper
Black Ball livery. Two of the Wood Electrics did end up with this odd, almost KCTC colors--the
Chetzemoka and sister ferry Elwha. One wonders if Demoro didn't accidentally get his Wood Electrics
mixed up! Author's collection.